Lumina will join Facebook advertising boycott
Racial Equity

Lumina will join Facebook advertising boycott

Man scrolling on a mobile phone.

Lumina Foundation doesn’t usually find itself standing with the country’s major consumer brands. They have their mission, and we have ours. But a critical moment in the life of the nation has changed that.

We’re standing with some of the nation’s best-known companies that are pulling their advertising from Facebook during the month of July over the social media giant’s policies which favor and perpetuate hate speech and disinformation.

The call for an advertising boycott started last week with a plea from half a dozen organizations—the Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP, Sleeping Giants, Color of Change, Free Press, and Common Sense—which asked large Facebook advertisers “to show they will not support a company that puts profit over safety.”

Those groups have since been joined by Verizon, Ben & Jerry’s, Patagonia, REI, and the advertising agency Goodby Silverstein, among others in the “#StopHateForProfit campaign. The ad agency’s clients include BMW, Pepsi, Adobe, HP, and other major brands.

We, too, are pausing our advertising on Facebook and Instagram, and those who know Lumina, know why: In our work to help increase the percentage of adults in the United States with an education beyond high school, we are committed throughout our work and in every fiber of our organization to helping the nation achieve racial justice and equity—and we believe college degrees and other credentials should position people for informed citizenship.

As recent events so dramatically show, the nation has a long way to go in its aspiration to be a land of equal rights for all—not to mention a society of true, equal opportunity, committed to social mobility. Our information landscape has become polluted with misinformation and deliberate disinformation, sometimes from outside of the United States but often from within.

With a membership in the billions, Facebook exerts an outsized influence over the tone and substance of the country’s national discussion of critical topics such as race. The social network has been rightly criticized for failing to rein in instances of incendiary, race-baiting rhetoric.

We stick to the important work we live for—helping millions of Americans achieve their potential through education. But this goal can’t be reached unless we confront the nation’s history of racist policies, which have their echoes today in the unfair and alarming disparities in educational outcomes among people who are Black, Hispanic, and Native American.

We and others committed to a better nation have an important story to tell about our progress toward that goal, and we’ll spend our advertising dollars to help tell that story. We hope that Facebook takes the boycott seriously and rethinks its editorial choices. More than anything in these times, America needs unity. We hope our support of business partners who share our goals of freedom, justice, and equity will help get us there.

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